Entering the bumpy cobblestone streets of Antigua from the main road is an adventure in itself. The ground starts to dance with movement as the chicken bus briskly turns a corner and bursts into the small narrow streets of the city. Brightly colored walls fly by and a different volcano peeks into view through each opening. The city’s historical architecture and long standing traditions in artistry radiate from the window seat. Simply put, Antigua is a must-visit that will take you back in time.
In 1979, UNESCO declared the former capital city of Guatemala a world-heritage site. This has allowed Antigua to flourish while still remaining remarkably authentic. There are plenty of perfectly charming hotels to choose from, but one give-back concept stands out from the rest.
Good Hotel Antigua is a centrally-located hotel that reinvests its profits into education, training and entrepreneurship within the local economy. A stay at Good Hotel connects travelers with the destination while offering a premium hotel experience and the opportunity to contribute to the local community.
The idea for a give-back hospitality group was conceptualized by Marten Dresen on his first trip to Guatemala back in 2006. He quickly put action to his thoughts and created his NGO, Niños de Guatemala, which has successfully built three schools for local children from low-income families. But recognizing that education is nothing without a thriving local economy, he developed a unique hospitality concept to employ both educated students and unemployed locals. What sets his concept apart from the ever growing trend of social-enterprises, is the direct connection to the surrounding community.
At Good Hotel, guests are welcome to experience this community through tours to the school, or by engaging in a conversation with any of the staff members, many of which attended the school or are single mothers from the area.
The hotel showcases the work of local artisans and builders while modernizing the skillsets of those of which they employ. The design is fresh and clean with a definite ode to Guatemala’s importance on quality goods and artistry; the light fixtures in the hotel were designed in Europe and manufactured by hand in Guatemala, same goes for the tables, the pillows, the cups and so-on. The combination of handmade details with modern design ignites the connection travelers seek when traveling abroad.
The airy atmosphere rejuvenates guests, and the give-back culture is the cherry on top. Good Hotel is paving the way with sensible alternative to vacationing. The hospitality group speaks to the modern traveler with an authentic and action-oriented tone, and by now we should know, it feels good to do good.